FOUR MONTHS later, people still don't seem to grasp the point regarding Sam Bradford. The word risk has been thrown around a lot: the health risk, the financial risk, the risk that he plays poorly and wastes a second-round draft pick, the risk that he plays well and earns himself a nice, fat, free-agent contract.

But none of those risks is as big as the one the Eagles would have taken had they headed into the season with a quarterback who they thought was incapable of leading them to where Chip Kelly wanted to go. And that's what they would have been doing if they had headed into another season with Nick Foles at the helm.

A brief note . . .

There are really two issues here:

1) The Eagles' decision to move on from Foles because they do not think he is a viable NFL starter.

2) The Eagles' decision that Foles is not a viable NFL starter.

I think some of the debate about the QB situation as a whole gets garbled because the Bradford Question is mostly an Issue No. 1 kinda thing and the Foles Question is, obviously, an Issue No. 2 kinda thing. In other words, there is a world where Bradford turns out to be a bust and the Eagles turn out to be justified in getting rid of Foles.

That's the irony in the recent talk about Bradford's long-term contract situation: It is essentially an argument for why the Eagles had to get rid of Foles. He was entering the last year of his contract. If they did not sign him to an extension before the season, they'd risk him playing himself into a huge free-agent contract. And if they weren't willing to sign him to an extension after a firsthand look at him the last two seasons, then why keep him around at all?

The reality is that swapping Bradford for Foles was a risk-neutral move on the long-term contract front. Regardless of how you weigh the risk of letting a quarterback play out the final year of his rookie deal instead of signing him to a long-term extension, it is the same for both guys. Sure, Foles will earn roughly $12 million less than Bradford for that final year, which is why it was a bit surprising the Eagles traded for Bradford without any obvious plan to lessen his impact on the 2015 payroll, but that's not the conversation we are having. That's an Issue No. 2 conversation.

But, hey, if you want to have it . . .

Start by looking at it from a different perspective. One argument against Bradford is that his net cost was a second-round pick and $12.985 million in salary-cap space. It is a valid line of thinking. Second-round picks are valuable, and so is cap space. But instead of looking at that price tag as a reflection of the Eagles' valuation of Bradford, think about it as a reflection of their valuation of Foles.

Kelly was so convinced that Foles was not a viable NFL starter that he was willing to sacrifice a second-round pick and nearly $13 million in payroll space simply to get rid of him and take a chance with someone else, even if that someone else happened to be a guy coming off his second straight ACL-shortened season, who hasn't been all that good when healthy. If Kelly figured he had just as good a chance of winning a title with Mark Sanchez as with Nick Foles, then why keep both of them around? Why not at least take a look at somebody upon whom you haven't already rendered a definitive judgment? You can argue about the wisdom of the look they chose to take, given the actual cost in salary and draft value and the opportunity cost of whoever else might have warranted a shot. But however you feel about the price paid for Bradford, it is a pretty good indication of how little they valued Foles. And while the logic might seem bizarre, I think it works: The stranger you find the Bradford move, the more sensible it might have been to trade Foles, because it just goes to show how little they valued him.

Now, are they correct about Foles?

Foles is a fine quarterback up to the point that he actually has to start being a quarterback, which is why he was able to put up such deceiving numbers. In Kelly's system, a quarterback must be a quarterback much less often than in other offenses. I would guess his scheme evolved to that point out of necessity: Rare is the pro-style quarterback who would pick Oregon over USC or Stanford. There is a reason why you haven't heard from Jeremiah Masoli or Darron Thomas in a while.

But even in Kelly's system, in which so much of the troubleshooting a quarterback must do is performed by the guy calling the plays on the sideline, there are moments when a quarterback must be a quarterback. He must buy a little more time in the pocket with his feet, and see the field a little faster, and have a keener sense of what constitutes a window. He must react to what the defense throws at him instead of relying on the coaching staff to do it before the snap.

I really can't offer anything in the way of statistical evidence to substantiate this belief, which gives you no objective reason to value my opinion of Foles over your own. But at least my opinion jibes with that of the lifelong football coach who has seen every snap (and urine sample) the guy has taken over the last two years. Although I'm glad I'm not the one betting my job on it.

On Twitter: @ByDavidMurphy

Blog: ph.ly/HighCheese